Debate over disciplinary against SkyCity casino worker with bible continues

20 Jun

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

The debate over the disciplinary action being taken by SkyCity casino against Tuni Parata for carrying a bible has continued with virtually every media outlet in the country taking the issue up.

The company is now claiming that Ms Parata’s job was never at risk. SkyCity General Manager of Human Resources Grainne Troute said the matter was never considered a serious misconduct matter by the company and she even tried to blame me for the situation. She said on Radio NZ this morning “I think it’s been really upsetting for her to have Mike Treen from the Unite union say that her job was at risk around this. It never was,”

These claims are simply untrue.

The letter that SkyCity worker Tuni Parata received from the company on June 14 said that the outcome of the planned disciplinary meeting could be a final written warning. Final warnings cannot be issued unless the matter is considered serious misconduct.

This was explained in the original media release from the union which said:

Last week she received a letter to attend a disciplinary meeting because of her alleged misconduct for breaching departmental policies. The letter said that the possible outcome of this disciplinary meeting was ‘a final written warning’.

This means the company considers carrying a pocket bible to be “serious misconduct” and any further breach will mean instant dismissal. A final warning is a threat of instant dismissal if Ms Parata was to to be seen with the bible again.”

In fact the union has had three meetings with the company over a period of a month over the threat against Ms Parata. From day one we said the company was being unreasonable in pursuing the issue as a disciplinary matter.

We also made a personal appeal a week ago to Grainne Troute as senior HR manager of the company to not proceed with the disciplinary meeting or we would go to the media over the issue.

No action was taken by Grainne Troute to stop the meeting proceeding.

Only after we had exhausted all avenues of reasoned discussion did we then go to the media.

The stress imposed on Tuni Parata is entirely of the company’s own making.

The company is now saying that there will not be a disciplinary outcome of the meeting planned for 4pm today which is being held at the Unite Union offices. Grainne Troute has also told the media that she is confident a way can be found for Tuni Parata to carry her pocket bible at work. This is welcome news.

Unite Union also hopes that the company will reflect on the the fact that a blanket ban on all personal items for all staff is not reasonable. Many workers are a long way from the basement changing rooms where the lockers are. It is often difficult to make it there and back in the 15 minute breaks staff get. It is perfectly reasonable for many staff to be able to carry a cash card, smokes or small book without risking a disciplinary process or misconduct charge.


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One Response to “Debate over disciplinary against SkyCity casino worker with bible continues”

  1. Tigerman June 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Atrocious manner in which Sky City have treated this lady. It’s just outrageous to be so draconian. There are other ways to facilitate good management/staff relations rather than bullying and using the letter of the law/contract. Shame on them.

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